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Looking at the title I’ve just written, I realise my first mistake which, as we all know, is that we Hairless Monkeys (for the uninitiated, that’s what they think of us) don’t keep cats. They keep us. It is a truth held deep in collective cat-savvy human consciousness across the globe.

That minor detail aside, I shall continue unhindered (unless a feline should decide to sit on my hands as I type – an outcome of reasonably high probability) in my attempt to discuss the fundamental incompatibility of cat-companioning and a Good Night’s Sleep.

Take Felicity, for example. Actually, don’t. She’ll have your hand off. Anyway, as some of my facebook compadres will be aware, she has an unerring sixth sense for when clean linen (white, obviously) has just gone, or is in the process of going, on the bed. I should point out at this juncture that she is a particular shade of ‘shedding black’, which mixed with paw-muck and assorted cobwebs is always very attractive. This ability of hers means that usually she has taken her place in the centre of my pillow even before the final wrinkles have been smoothed. My OCD has had no choice but to pack its bags and go on an extended holiday.

I do make some concerted efforts to expel her from my sleeping quarters before I finally settle down for the night. However, not to be outdone, she has developed a knack for finding Places To Hide that Don’t Actually Exist. “How can this be?” I hear you ask. To be honest, I have no idea, but I can comb the room with the precision of a top MI6 (or is it 5?) security specialist and see no evidence whatsoever of feline form. Satisfied, I would retire to my pit.

How is it then, that just at the point of nodding off, my head-space (the physical kind not the metaphorical kind) is suddenly full of warm black fur, complete with considerable substance and pointy bits? Appearing from nowhere, in one improbably athletic movement (she’s not exactly ‘cat’walk material, shall we say) she’s wrapped tightly round the top of my head, making the kind of noise – of pleasure, it appears – that I only generally hear when I switch on the ignition of my Harley.

Once extracted from my hair, she turns into a snake. No, not really, but the effect is remarkably similar as she slithers out of my grasp and disappears beneath the bed, all signs of undying devotion having evaporated to be replaced by malevolent growls, sotto voce.

With the kind of optimism only the very tired or very stupid possess, I once again settle back to sleep as to be perfectly honest, carpet burns on the knees from trying to fish her out just don’t do it for me. Not to mention the fact that she can see in the dark and I can’t. I value my eyes, I value my skin….

Dear reader, it is only despair left available to me when just at the point of nodding off, I am once again alerted to the presence of our corpulent companion. “What now?” I hear you say. (I really do, or is this in fact fully-fledged sleep deprivation?) Well, all I can ask you in reply is: “Didn’t you know that cats snore?”

And then there’s Stevie….

c. Hatty Richmond 2011